Not getting any attention on established social media websites? That’s okay–there are alternatives.
Alt media or alternative media sites, much like Cryptocurrency coins versus centralized currencies, are basically less popular versions of mainstream sites.
Voat.co as pictured above is a clone of Reddit. Vidme is more or less like YouTube and Datatau actually refers to itself as the “Hackernews for Data Scientists”.
You may ask why people build these sites when there are existing established versions that they can never beat.
The goal of alt sites is not to compete with established sites but rather become an alternative option to them–a purpose they seem to be serving very well.
Why People Choose alt Sites over Mainstream Sites
Alt media sites target users who have either been banned from mainstream sites or people who are just looking to get their voice heard.
As mainstream news websites get bigger, they become more ruthless and it’s more difficult for more users to get their voice heard. There’s also a stream of big-time ad dollars that influence the type of content that’s published on mainstream sites.
A typical example is Reddit. Good luck getting attention to your posts if your account has no karma points.
For this reason, some people will just shop around for much smaller sites that serve the same purpose.
So instead of Reddit, someone will just go to Voat.co because the community is much smaller so it’s easier to get attention to their discussions.
Additionally, Alt media sites are less strict and more friendly towards users. Instead of banning you outright, they’ll rather point you to what you did wrong.
An example is a response below. It was made by a moderator on an Alt site.
How They Attract Users
Because most of these alt media sites are bootstrapped by the founders and occasionally funded with some donations from their users, they often do not have the budget to do more aggressive marketing.
Also, more often than not, it’s being run as a side project by a small group of people.
For this reason, they rely mainly on organic traffic and word of mouth to bring in new users. They occasionally receive traffic from blogs who may write about them in articles like “The 7 Best Facebook Alternatives You Didn’t Know About“.
Are They Successful?
Overall, alt media sites are doing pretty well for their purposes. Most have a committed community and generate a decent amount of activity.
Voat.co, for example, receives over 4 million monthly visitors according to SimilarWeb.
Compared to the over 1.2 billion monthly visits for Reddit, it’s nothing, but it’s still a success considering they don’t have a fraction of the resources available to Reddit.
On the other hand, not every alt media site is successful. Some have been abandoned by their creators whilst others have simply run out of money to keep their servers running.